Thrush is an infection which is caused by a yeast fungus referred as Candida spp. Small numbers of this fungus live around the skin and vaginal area. Candida spp is normally harmless but other harmless bacteria and immune system that also usually live around the skin or vagina areas stop it from growing. Nevertheless, when conditions are favorable for this fungus to thrive, it multiplies and invades the vagina causing different symptoms.
Candida spp normally is favored by warm, airless and moist parts of the body hence the reason why vagina is the common site for the fungus infection. Other parts of the body that are vulnerable for this infection include mouth, groin, and nappy parts in babies. Mostly thrush is caused by Candida albicans although sometimes other kinds of Candida spp like Candida tropicalis or Candida glabrata are the causes.
More so, thrush is the second frequent cause of the vaginal discharge after bacterial vaginosis which is the main cause. The discharge caused by thrush is usually thick and creamy white or watery sometimes. This infection can also lead to redness, itch, pain and discomfort outside vagina (vulva). Normally the discharge caused by thrush does not smell. However, some women experience discomfort or pain when having sex or passing urine as a result of the same.
At times, symptoms are minimal and vanish on their own although symptoms can get quite irritating thus making treatment a must. Thrush does not cause harm to vagina and neither causes damage to the womb (uterus). Thus, for pregnant women, thrust does not harm the baby. This infection is not transmitted sexually and usually treatment is not often necessary. For instance, symptoms can last for short periods of time like a week.
But how do you get thrush? That is the common question people keep asking especially women who are vulnerable to this infection. Majority of women have Candida spp in their vagina but the fungus may not necessary cause any symptoms. The fungus is kept under control by the vaginal secretion hormones and friendly vaginal bacteria. Problems occur after the natural balance within vagina is tampered hence triggering Candida to multiply and causing infection (thrust). Although vaginal thrush is not an infection which is sexually transmitted, sometimes it can be passed to another person during sex. Hence, it is always recommended to avoid doing sex when infected with thrush until you have finished a treatment course and infection has healed.
Other names for thrush are monilia or candidiasis. Thrush symptoms include vaginal itching, burning, white discharge, burning or stinging while urinating. Vaginal tablets (pessaries) or vaginal creams can help to minimize the symptoms of thrush. Majority of women have suffered thrush at least once in their lifetime. Sometimes this condition develops for no good or apparent reason. Mucus and harmless bacteria in vagina are known to defend the effects of Candida spp although the natural defenses can be altered by certain conditions like when women are pregnant or suffering from diabetes or antibiotics. People with poor immune systems have also high chances of suffering from thrush. These include: people on chemotherapy of specific cancers or people taking high doses of steroids, among other conditions.